Optimal way to cool hot coffee?

The new coffeemaker makes better coffee, but it’s also delivered at about 170ºF. I can’t drink it until it drops to 140º.

So far, I’ve tried:
[li]freezing the mug overnight (not enough heat absorption)[/li][li]putting an ice cube in the cup (have to remember to make the coffee a bit stronger)[/li][li]making cream cubes by freezing half-and-half (works fine but freezing does something to the cream and it looks unappealing)[/li][li]adding a bit of ice cream (have to keep it on hand; get sticky hands from handling carton and scoop; adds sugar, which I normally don’t take)[/li][/ul]

I’m considering whiskey rocks. How do you cool your coffee enough to sip it? What do you do at Starbucks?


It’s probably not the freezing that’s the problem with the cream cubes. It’s the rapid temperature shift. It’s probably curdling your milk. The closer the cream is to its expiration date the more likely that is to occur.

Are you putting it in a mug? A thermos? My first choice would just be keep the lid open, blow off the steam and be patient. But a second option is to pour it back and forth between two mugs a few times. You want more surface area to cool and that’s a good way of doing it.

Most of the time I’d say I just… wait. But usually between pouring and adding half and half, it’s fine after just another couple minutes if not right away. Though I suspect I drink it hotter than you do. If I’m getting store coffee (usually a local place called Chicago Grind which serves local roaster Bowtruss coffee) that’s regular drip and not a latte, I get room for cream, add that, and leave the top off for a couple minutes and then I’m good.

I think you’ll get some responses that won’t work for you because I know a lot of people are fine with 160F (my experience as a former barista), and I would even sometimes get requests for extra hot which was 180F when I was making a latte (even though it technically scalded the milk and tasted weird to me, some people like it).

Have you tried just pouring into a second mug? Pour back and forth a few times, cools it pretty quickly without diluting or changing any other methods to remember.

Is it a drip coffeemaker? If so, try putting a few ice cubes on top of the coffee grounds when you start the pot.

Nooo. Don’t do that! Optimal brewing temp for drip is 180F. Putting ice cubes in there will cause brewing waaayy to cool and basically making warm water with a little coffee flavor. Causes too much acidity and improper extraction - terrible tasting coffee. The majority of extraction happens at the beginning of the drip brewing process. Ever watch a pot brew? Dark black at the beginning and tea-like at the end. This is why those coffee makers that allow the carafe to be removed to pour a cup before the process is finished are an abomination. Even adding ice after brewing would taste better than that (and also not very good).

Another thing you could do, is make coffee ice cubes. Let a carafe cool during the day, fill ice trays with the coffee and freeze overnight.

If you have 60 bucks for a one-time purchase, there are these Coffee Joulies. According to the site, they cool the coffee right away to 140 and then keep it there for up to 2 hours. Stainless steel outside, “advanced phase change material” inside, which absorbs the excess heat and then puts it back as the coffee cools.

I first saw them on America’s Test Kitchen; their Gadget Guru thought they were great, but I have seen mixed reviews. For what it is worth.

How about putting the ice cubes under the coffee grounds, then?

Never mind that; I can see that the problem would persist. Here’s my last suggestion: set up to brew 2/3 of a pot. Have the pot filled with 1/3 of yesterday’s coffee when you start.

Coffee ice cubes.

Add Kahlua.


I add a tablespoon of water from the faucet to my cup.

At Starbucks I order a Frappucino anyway, and at home/work I add refrigerated creamer like Coffeemate or International Delight. At the gas station, milk from the refrigerated milk machine.

Anywhere else, I bemoan the fact that there is no cold creamer or ice to use.

At that point, why not just put the ice cubes in the coffee pot (before or after brewing)? Which was mentioned in the OP; and seems reasonable to me.

Or, if brewing extra-strong coffee doesn’t give the right flavor profile, get some drink coolers – the sealed, water-filled balls that you freeze, then put in a drink to keep it cold without diluting it. You’d want to make sure the kind you get is made of something safe at high temperatures (some plastics might be iffy), but that shouldn’t be too hard.

Try a bigger, thicker ceramic mug. I’ve noticed that the thick, ceramic mugs in restaurants seem to absorb a lot of the coffee heat. So maybe more ceramic will be able to lower the temp quicker.

Another way is to put your cup in front of a small fan. The circulating air will quickly cool down your coffee. You’d want a thinner mug to make the cooling go quicker for this method.

And another way would be to pour the coffee into the mug from a greater height so it has more exposure to the air as it is being poured and will lose a bit of heat.

Forgot about that one, which I tried for a week. Worked OK, but meant some extra dishwashing.

The coffee ice cubes sounds like a promising approach. At Starbucks I often ask for a shot of iced coffee to be added, but that often requires a bit of explanation.

A co-worker puts ice in a bag and ten puts the bag in the mug, so the coffee doesn’t dilute.

Cold creamer here also.
Takes it from ‘too hot!’ to ‘just right’ immediately.

These are pretty good, but if you’re using a ceramic mug, they won’t keep your coffee hot that long.

The way I cool my coffee in the morning is I take it out to my car while I scrape the snow and/or ice off my windshield. I place the coffee cup on the roof of the car. When I finish scraping, I go inside. I pick up all the stuff I need for work. I then try to remember where I put my coffee. I remember. I run outside and get it. Trust me, It’s much cooler.